A hidden gem in East Renfrewshire, the Fereneze Braes in Barrhead make for a wonderful hike near Glasgow. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the city and the Highlands, a hidden waterfall and if you’re lucky, even a herd of Highland coos. Put on your walking boots and plan your walk with this hiking guide for the Fereneze Braes.
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In Scots, the word “brae” means steep bank or hillside. And in fact many of the hills south of Glasgow bear this name (Cathkin Braes, Brownside Braes, Glennifer Braes).
But among them, the Fereneze Braes above Barrhead are perhaps the least known. Despite their modest elevation (less than 200m / approx. 600 ft), the top of these gently rolling hillsides offers panoramic views of Glasgow, the Kilpatrick Hills, the Campsies to the north and the Highlands beyond that.
In this hiking guide for the Fereneze Braes I will give you:
- a rundown of my favourite route with an optional detour,
- options for parking and public transport links,
- suggestions for what to wear and bring.
Fereneze Braes FAQ
Where is this hike?
The Fereneze Braes are the hills rising to the west of Barrhead, a suburb south of Glasgow.
How long is the hike on the Fereneze Braes?
You can spend as little or as much time in the Fereneze Braes as you’d like – there are many different paths and trails to walk, which makes it an excellent place to explore again and again.
The walk I describe below takes just under 2 hours.
For a longer walk, jump over to Duncarnock Fort on the other side of Barrhead and continue exploring.
Is the path marked?
Initially, the path is not marked. But since it is the only path, there is no way to get lost.
Once you reach the top of the Fereneze Braes golf course, there are signposts for Paisley, Barrhead and Killoch Glen.
If you want to follow my route, use the free Komoot app to follow my footsteps.
Public Transport Link
The trail up into the Fereneze Braes starts on Graham Street near Barrhead railway station. Take the train from Glasgow Central station to Kilmarnock – Barrhead is the sixth stop.
Parking at Fereneze Braes
There is plenty of free on-street parking on Graham Street in Barrhead, but no formal car park.
Trail description: Fereneze Braes
From Barrhead to the summit
The trail up the Fereneze Braes starts on the corner of Graham Street and Laurel Way in Barrhead. Walk through the wooden gate and follow the clear path as it meanders uphill through tall gorse/broom bushes.
The path is steep at times and it’s worth stopping to catch your breath and look back over Barrhead.
Eventually, the trail emerges at Fereneze Braes golf course and continues following the edge in a straight line. After about 500 yards, the path ends in a T-junction. Turn left to return down to Hillside Road in Barrhead; turn right to get to the summit cairn and Killoch Glen.
Continue walking along the golf course – careful when golfers are playing. After passing a bench with great views, the track becomes wider and you will see the first sign post on this hike.
Follow the signs for Paisley and Killoch Glen. A little bit further, there is a smaller sign post with an arrow, leading away on a path to the left of the track.
You could stay on the track to walk towards Harelaw Reservoir and on towards Brownside Braes and Paisley.
To stay on my route though, keep left and soon after turn left again at a particularly gnarly tree. Go through the narrow gate and walk up a straight path between the fields. At the top, walk through the kissing gate.
From here, you have two options.
- Follow the signs for Paisley (via Glenburn Reservoir) to reach the summit cairn ahead and descend to Gleniffer Braes and Paisley.
- Alternatively, turn left following the sign for Killoch Glen and walk along a short raised boardwalk.
You could also climb to the summit cairn for views and then return to continue your walk to Killoch Glen.
Keep walking through the gorse bushes as the path hugs the hillside, gently going up and down at times. Be careful as it can be boggy or icy around here.
After a while, you will come across a set of steps descending even further down the hill. Walk down and then turn right to stay on the path.
Ignore a path that leads off to the left and stay on the main trail. Soon it also turns towards the left and descends downhill into Killoch Glen.
You will emerge at the top of the glen. Listen for the roar of a series of waterfalls that are tucked away below the path. The slope is really steep, but if you are very careful and it is not too slippy, you might be able to walk down a bit for a better view. I did not dare.
The trail through the woodland can be very muddy and slippy. In some places, there is a fence at the edge, but when there is no barrier, take extra care.
The path follows the course of the glen until you get back down to Fereneze Road. Turn left and follow it all the way back to Barrhead – the road turns into Gateside Road and eventually Graham Street.
Day Hiking Packing List
You won’t need much on this hike in the Fereneze Braes as you’re never too far from the village.
If you make your way to the summit cairn, you might want to bring some snacks, as this it s a scenic spot for a picnic.
From the summit, you can enjoy great views of the Campsies and the Highlands beyond that. Bring a camera and a zoom lens if you plan to spend some time taking pictures.
The trail can be muddy and boggy at times, so wear sturdy trail shoes or hiking boots.
Note that there are no toilet facilities along this trail.
HIKING FACTS: Fereneze Braes
Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Terrain: Mostly waymarked trail with steep sections.
Map (on Komoot)
Ready for a wee hike in the Fereneze Braes? I’d love to hear from you, if you walk this trail.
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